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Archive for November, 2008

Bailing out the big three auto makers is like giving new pipes to crackheads

Friday, November 21st, 2008


Blue collar workers are the heart of America and (and a good portion of my readership) so I understand the fear that the big three automakers going under would mean massive unemployment.  I also want American businesses to succeed, especially ones such as GM that employ thousands of workers.  The problem is the big, bloated car giants spend money like there is no tomorrow.  Giving them more money will simply give them more to waste.  The proposed government bailout is not going to fix their problems and here are some reasons why:

1) It would not fix their flawed business models
GM workers earn and average of $70/hr in pay and benefits.  That is simply too much.  Thats more than (in the US) the average engineer, construction worker, teacher, project manager and blogger (ha!).  Its not just assembly line workers either, the CEO Richard Wagoner makes about $24 million a year.

GM goes through $2 billion a month.  A month!  What good would 8 billion do them?  Then there are the huge pension plans that no other industry could possibly afford to give.

2) Their cars aren’t very competitive
Guess which of the big three are on Kelley Blue Book’s top 10 brands?  That’s right, none.  They don’t hold their value and don’t stand up for the most part to similar foreign cars.

3) The idea that it would help American workers is a sham

The automakers are already outsourcing.  See Ford’s 3 billion plant they are going to build in Mexico city. (The biggest foreign investment in Mexico’s history).

4) Government car bailouts have been tried and they DONT WORK
In England Leyland car company has having problems identical to our big 3.  They owned over 1/3 of the entire market share.  The government put in 16 billion to keep them afloat. So who here has heard of Leyland?  Any takers?  That’s because they went out of business anyway.

Where’s Jesse been? My Son was born this week!

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Actual reader email from Josh in Arizona:

“Jesse,

Are you around?  This may seem weird but I am starting to get mad at you not posting, sort of like a penpal that doesnt write back…especially since this is the weirdest/hardest financial time we have seen in this country in ages.  Ok enough weird emails to bloggers that don’t know me 🙂

Josh
PS please post”

Well to the delight of many of you, and the consternation of a few of you you, I am alive and better than ever.  I haven’t quit blogging, I have just slowed down lately because I have had a son on the way and he was born this week!   Jackson Lee:

Jackson
Lauren and Jackson are both doing great.  Thanks to everyone for the concern as to my whereabouts.  I have a bunch of articles that I am just finishing and I finally finished the ebooks I have been promising so look for them to come sometime this week!

Winterize your car yourself and save $200

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Instead of paying a couple hundred dollars for a shop to “winterize” your car, how about doing it yourself?  Its easier than you think…

Engine Coolant

Your car’s coolant system isn’t just to keep your car from overheating, it’s also to keep corrosion away.  Obviously in the winter, you also can’t have the cooling system freezing. For winter, you want a mix of about 50% ethylene glycol, 50% water depending on your climate.  Here in Colorado we are fairly average so most people run 50/50 all year long.  The colder your climate, the more glycol you want in the mix because it has a much lower freezing temperature than water.  Check your owner’s manual for what kind of coolant you need.  If you are in a climate such as colorado chances are you probably don’t have to do much more than make sure your radiator and reservoir are filled with the correct mix.

Engine Oil

The oil in your engine changes depending the tempertature of your engine as it runs. This is almost directly purportional to the temperature outsite, minus a few factors.  What does this mean? It means depending on the climate, you will have to run different kinds of oils.

Once again a moderate climate like Colorado means you probably don’t have to change your oil type for the winter.  The most common oil is 10w-30 and a slightly thinner (better for winter since it is thinner, making it less likely to ‘muck’ up the engine if temperatures get really cold).  The truth is unless you live in an extreme climate, 10w-30 can get you through year round.  Always check your owners manual to make sure your car doesn’t take something exotic 🙂


Windshield Wiper Fluid

Fill it.  To the Top.

Windhsield Wiper blades

If they are showing any signs of wear, replace them.  I usually dont spring for more expensive winter blades, the truth is that the best blade is the one that doesnt leave spots or smudges.

Battery

The biggest thing to check for is corrosion.  Does it seems like “gunk” has built up around your battery cables?  Time to disconnect the battery and clean it off.  Cold weather is hard on batteries and if it has been a long time since you have replaced your battery it is a good idea to get a new one.

Tires

Check for worn tires.  Snow and ice can be dangerous so it is important to make sure your tires have a good amount of tread left.  You can spring for winter tires, but I believe a good set of all season radials is better investment as they will also work well in winter…and you can keep them for summer.

As you can tell, winterizing your car is not that difficult.  The idea is to make sure things are working properly before it gets nasty outside.  Working on a car on a nice fall day is 100X better than working on a car in a snowbank so dont tempt fate!